The Graduate Program at Neradim

Background

Finishing 12th  grade  with the knowledge that you have to leave the village  and return home,, go into the army  and  start living independently  living  is one of the most  stressful and  difficult  times in the lives of the villagers . Thoughts such as:
What am I going to do now?
What will I do until I go into the army?
What should I do in the army?
Where am I going to spend my leave from the army?
Where will I sleep? Where will I eat and shower?
With all this in mind we decided to set up the Graduate Program.

Goals

The program’s main goal is to give graduates the peace of mind to progress in life and in the process, take both them and their future families out of the circle of being supported by welfare.
We believe that the period of time from high school graduation until age of 24-25 is critical in the formulation of the adult personality (the  development of a sense of self confidence and self
belief).The program’s aim is to enable the graduate to leave the village as a mature and responsible adult  with a profession and a direction in life ; as an individual who will be able to make a respectable living for himself and his family,  to fulfill his civil duties and contribute to society.

Method   

While the children are still in 11th and 12th  grade  (sometimes even before) we try to find out together with the children what their future ambitions are. We discover their likes, hobbies and fields of interest which could contribute to their development or pursue later as a profession.

Once we have this information we try to provide the the optimal conditions for the child to realize his ambitions,, whether it is offering educational support which will enable him to succeed in graduating with a high school diploma, or advising and financing professional training.

Preparation for the Graduate Program

Towards the end of 12th grade we meet with the children and determine  who wants to take part in the graduate program and what his plans are concerning army service.
In the second stage we sit with the candidates and go over the rules and regulations of the graduate house, reviewing  their rights and duties.

A few days later we meet again with the children who are willing to accept the rules and regulations of the graduate program. Each graduate receives  a set which includes a copy of the regulations,  a short questionnaire and an application form. After applying, the graduates are summoned to an interview in which they sign a contract allowing them to be part of the graduate program and the graduate house.

Thereafter we accompany the graduate when he is preparing for the army and,,of course, during the enlistment process itself.  When the graduates have finished the army we start working with them on their plans for higher education or professional training.

Our Vision

Because the state stops budgeting the children when they finish 12th grade we are forced to find alternative financing for the project including rent, expenses, furniture, clothing hygiene, travel expenses, etc . This is no easy feat .

At present the Graduate House is home to nine  permanent residents, with an additional three graduates who are still waiting for a permanent housing solution  -- meanwhile, arriving as guests on weekends when they cannot find another place to stay. Likewise, this year (June 2011) a further seven villagers  will be graduating high school and next year (June 2012) an additional eleven will graduate.

Hence, our dream and our vision is to set up a large facility (in the village) for all  graduates participating in the project. It should be a place where the students and soldiers who have graduated from the village will be able to live together and have their own club, music room, a TV room, dining room, etc. Such a facility will strengthen the self-confidence of the graduates and give them the peace of mind necessary to realize not only their full potential but also both the vision of the village and the organization.